|Diet of shorebirds in Roebuck Bay Australia|
Kuiper, S. (2017). Diet of shorebirds in Roebuck Bay Australia. Thesis. NIOZ Royal Institute for Sea Research: Texel. 29 pp.
In the past few years there is seen a big decline in shorebirds, 52% of the 237 migrant shorebird populations with known trends are decreasing. Only 16% of the world’s shorebird populations are increasing (Wetlands International, 2006). Examples of threads that can cause these declines are predation, climate change and hunting (Boere, Galbraith, & Stroud, 2006). But human activities do also have an enormous influence. For example, the loss of habitat and food as a consequence of land reclamation (BirdLife International, 2016). This can be anywhere along their migration route (Hansen, Menkhorst, Moloney, & Loyn, 2015). Areas such as intertidal mud flats are of special importance during the migration, when birds use these places to rest and refuel. For birds of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, sites around the Yellow Sea are of high importance as stopover places to rest and refuel (Bamford et al. 2008; van de Kam et al. 2010). As a result of land reclamation project, intertidal rest and feeding habitats are reduced by up to 50% in the last 20 years (Barter 2002; Moores 2006). According to professor Theunis Piersma (Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research), is land reclamation a serious threat for migratory birds. He fears that the continuing of land reclamation will result in a halving of the shorebird populations within three to four years (BirdLife International, 2016). The East Asian-Australasian Flyway is worldwide one of the greatest flyways. In the north it stretches from Russia to Alaska, in the south it reaches Australia and New Zealand. In between it covers a big part of eastern Asia, including Japan, Korea, China, South-East Asia and the Western Pacific. The flyway is especially important for shorebirds during their migration. These birds breed in Alaska and northern Asia and spent the non-breeding season in Australia and South-East Asia. During migration season, millions of birds will use the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (Wikipedia, 2017). To complete this journey of thousands of kilometers, the birds need to refuel and rest at some point along the flyway. For this, they are depending on intertidal flats (Bamford et al. 2008; van de Kam et al. 2010). Therefor it is of major importance to protect these areas and monitor the presence of the prevalent species.